Five Girl Scouts sat on the floor of their troop leader's house during their spring break, surrounded by fabric, ribbons and hot-glue guns. The girls from Troop 1728 gathered together during their time off from school to make memory boards for residents of Copper Ridge, a community in Sykesville that provides care for people with memory impairments.
"I haven't burned myself yet," Olivia Sinicropi, 13, said as she turned on a hot-glue gun to attach ribbons onto a foam core board.
The girls are making memory boards as their Girl Scout Silver Award project, the highest award a Girl Scout Cadette can earn. Cadettes are girls who are in sixth, seventh and eighth grades, according to the Girl Scouts of the United States of America website.
Troop 1728 leader Elizabeth Milnes said the Silver Award gives Girl Scouts an opportunity to show that they are leaders who are organized, determined and dedicated to improving their community.
Coralie Milnes, 13, said helping others is a big part of being a Girl Scout.
"There are issues in our community and we feel we can do something about them," Coralie said. "I think it's appreciated by the community, too."
Olivia said the troop decided to do a project to help people with Alzheimer's and dementia because the grandmother of a troop member has Alzheimer's disease and another member's mother works at Copper Ridge.
Before the girls began creating the boards, they took a tour of Copper Ridge and learned about Alzheimer's and dementia, Olivia said.
After learning more about the residents at Copper Ridge, the girls decided the best way to help was to create memory boards so the residents could display people, places, dates and facts to remember in their rooms.
"They can put up pictures of their family members to remember their faces and names," Carly Paratore, 14, said.
"It can also help them around the building if they put up a map of the building on the board," Coralie added.
The girls created the memory boards using foam core board, batting, fabric and ribbon.
First, they stapled batting around the foam core board, and then they hot-glued fabric on top of the batting.
Next, the girls hot-glued ribbons in a criss-cross pattern across the board, so people can tuck pictures and papers underneath the ribbons without having to use tape or a pin.
Milnes said a lot of the material used to create the boards was donated by troop members and their families. The foam core board and a few miscellaneous supplies were purchased using money from the troop's Girl Scout cookie sales, she said.
The girls' goal is to create 30 memory boards for residents at Copper Ridge.
Carly said she hopes the memory boards will make a difference to the recipients, because it the process is already making a difference to the troop.
"It makes me feel good when I do something like this for someone else," she said.